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Help With ADHD

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

  • Sep 15, 2017
Telepsychiatry: Advances and Challenges

The use of telepsychiatry is increasing in the primary care settings, including pediatrician’s offices, and in schools where psychiatrists or other mental health professionals can collaborate with teachers and other school staff.

  • Aug 31, 2017
School-based Mental Health Programs Proving Effective

Just as children across the country head back to school, new research shows that the growing number of school-based mental health programs are effective in helping students.

  • Aug 16, 2017
Mental Health in Media and Entertainment

Mental illness is an issue that touches many lives, so it’s no wonder that it is often featured in entertainment media. What is the best way to address mental health in the media?

Upcoming Events
Sep
2017
01

Attention Deficit Disorder Association

Sep
2017
01
Online Directory of Local Support Meetings
  • Fri,  Sep  01 - Sat,  Sep  30

ADDitude Magazine

Sep
2017
01
Parent to Parent Program
  • CHADD, the National Resource Center on ADHD
  • Fri,  Sep  01 - Sat,  Sep  30

Online and In-person Training for Parents

Sep
2017
01
Find campus based events and support
  • Fri,  Sep  01 - Sat,  Sep  30

Active Minds

Sep
2017
22
Behavioral and Emotional Skills Training
  • New York, New York
  • Fri,  Sep  22

Child Mind Institute

Oct
2017
01
ADHD Awareness Month
  • Sun,  Oct  01
Nov
2017
09

My son's teacher keeps sending notes home about his behavior at school and I don't understand the problem. He is fine with me, maybe a handful for his mother and his grandparents. Should I ask for them to change his teacher, or is there a problem?

You are fortunate to have good management skills that help you with your child's behavior. Parents often get confusing reports about their children, and there are many factors that need to be considered. A good starting point is a meeting with your child's teacher and school guidance counselor. Ask for another observation of your child in the classroom. If the problems continue, there are behavior rating scales that help to clarify the problem behaviors. The Vanderbilt Assessment Scales used for diagnosing ADHD are readily available and the standard in many communities. Your child’s doctor may be comfortable with the next steps in the evaluation or you might look for a mental health professional, such as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, to continue the evaluation process. More

Are there side effects with ADHD medications that we should be worried about with children? What about adults taking ADHD medications long-term?

Like all medications there are important side effects that should be considered if a decision is made to try medications for treatment of ADHD. The most serious side effects involve the heart, primarily in children who have known heart problems. More common side effects are lack of appetite, sleep problems and moodiness. Usually these side effects can be managed with adjustments in the dosage, timing of dose or changing to another medication. Your child’s treatment will involve regular follow-up visits to monitor for any of these problems.

Most children with ADHD will continue having problems with concentration and focus during adolescence and adulthood. Research has confirmed that medications continue to be effective into adulthood. While there are few studies looking at very long-term effects it appears that the long- term benefit outweighs the risks. More

My 17-year-old son with ADHD does not want to take his medication anymore. Should I continue to try to get him to take the medication?

Adolescents with almost any medical condition will insist that they can manage their treatment. “I would rather do it myself.” Fortunately, in most cases the physician has anticipated this and steps have been taken early to help your child learn about his condition, identify target symptoms that improve with treatment and encourage open discussion about side effects. Trials off medication are welcomed. Explore your son’s reasons for wanting to be off medication. It may be a side effect that he has not discussed with his doctor. Identify the likely changes that are expected during a trial off medication. Your son might be willing to identify a neutral observer (a favorite teacher, a coach) who can help monitor for problem issues. Their observations may feel less “parental.” More

Are there non-medication ADHD treatments that are effective?

There are many steps that a family can take short of medication. Usually these involve close attention to a problem behavior and developing a strategy (not punishment) that might change the behavior. Some are straight forward – tighter routines in the morning while getting ready for school, close monitoring of homework assignments and school projects that require planning, or accommodations at school for tests. Some families benefit from counseling to examine conflicts at home.

There are many other “treatments” on the market that promise to be the answer for your child. Most of their claims have not been adequately tested for safety or long-term benefit. In this area parents have to be very informed consumers. A conversation with your child’s pediatrician is a good place to start. More

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About the Expert:

Scott Benson, M.D.
Pediatric Psychiatrist
Pensacola, Fla.

Tammy’s Story

Tammy, an 8-year-old third grader, was halfway through the second grading period when her parents asked for another conference with her teacher. Her grades were very low with failure to complete class assignments and inconsistent performance on homework.

Read More

Have a Story of Your Own to Share?

Editor's Choice

AUG 1, 2017

A Bystander Had the Perfect Response to This Preschooler's ADHD Tantrum

Health.com

One mom expected rage from fellow shoppers when her child began to act out in a Wal-Mart. What happened instead surprised her—and inspired a Facebook post on stress and compassion that has since gone viral.

JULY 26, 2017

'Are we there yet?' Explaining ADHD science to children

Science Daily

Nobody will deny it: science is very complex. But it does not mean that only a select few should be able to grasp scientific concepts. Many recent efforts have been directed towards involving the public in the scientific process and broadening access to scientific data. Consistent with this approach, scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) just published their research on ADHD in a most unusual academic journal: the Frontiers for Young Minds is an electronic scientific journal whose primary audience comprises children from elementary and junior high schools. Moreover, children are also involved in the fact-checking process necessary for any respected scientific journal, including the thorough peer-review of submitted articles.

JULY 24, 2017

Treating ADHD May Help Curb Addiction Problems

WebMD

Teens and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may have a lower risk of developing an alcohol or drug problem if they take medications to treat their ADHD, a new study suggests.

"This study contributes to growing evidence that ADHD medication is linked to lower risk for many types of harmful behavior, including substance abuse," said study leader Patrick Quinn.